Military expenditure in Nigeria has gone up by 32 percent to N348 billion in 2011 to consolidate the country’s ranking as 57th globally and the largest spender in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc.
The ranking was based on Nigeria’s military expenditure in 2009, which also made her the seventh largest spender on the African continent. The country spent $1.864 billion or N233 billion in 2009, representing 0.90 percent of the Gross Development Product (GDP). Defence is a critical sector and has enjoyed favourable consideration in funding, especially in recent years. For instance, the sector got N264 billion in 2010 and this rose to N348 billion in the current year’s budget.
It also enjoyed incentives because most of its goods are imported. These imports are exempt from import duties, Value Added Tax (VAT) etc under the Common External Tariff 2008 to 2012 (CET). Defence funding in Nigeria is superior to many sectors and in most African countries, especially in line with security responsibilities.
This is exemplified in the current budget in which the military is the second largest beneficiary, trailing the education sector which got N356 billion. The defence sector is also ahead of other key sectors like works and power, that got N182 billion and N91 billion respectively. Bright Okogu, director-general, in a presentation to the students of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, noted that within ECOWAS, Nigeria’s defence spending is the largest.
“It is five times greater than the spending of Cote d’Ivoire and almost 15 times the size of Ghana’s spending,” he said.